Tuesday, June 29

Book Overview: Leviticus

The book of Leviticus is the book of laws which sprung directly out of the covenant God made with his people at Mt. Sinai (In Exodus). For the most part, the book was written as laws for the priests, who were to instruct the people. Also, the main focus of the book comes out of a single statement made by God, "You must be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy." Do all of these laws still apply to Christians today? No. But some do. (Photo credit to concoxions.com)

When Jesus died, it let go of the need more ceremonial law, and we are required only to follow The Ten Commandments and the Commandments of Jesus. However, by reading Leviticus, we can see the sacrifice of Jesus, and what we no longer have to do be pay for our sins. What remains are underlying principles, the unchanging nature of God, and the need we have as human beings - for forgiveness, which we can now find fulfillment with in a relationship with our savior, Jesus. Which laws still apply to us? Luckily, we are told which still apply in the New Testament Book of Hebrews. But we may eat meat, we do not have to sacrifice animals, the like.

This is the second Book Overview in a series of 66 Books. These overviews, as previously stated, do not interfere with the regular lessons, but these are written so that it may provide readers with details about the book, things that they may have missed, and will hopefully peak your interest so that you will read the book, the entire Bible, in fact, as God wants us to do. Now, onto the Book of Levticus.

Title: Leviticus (English), Vaykira (Hebrew) The word "Leviticus" means, "and he called.

Authorship: Like Genesis and Exodus, it is believed to be written by Moses. (See here.)

Written: Between 1400s-1200s BC, likely edited during Babylonian exile.

Summary: "Leviticus contains God's instruction for Israel's priests, and it includes God's instruction to the entire nation of Israel on how to live-spiritually and physically." (NIV)

Chapters 1-15 covers the Sacrifices that were required to remove sin, and renew fellowship with God. Laws are given for the priests and for the clean - and the unclean. 

Chapters 16-27 deals with laws based around Matters of conduct, morality, holiness, and the "Day of Atonement."

*Points -The tenth day of the seventh month (Tishiri - September/October) was the annual "Day of Atonement" for Israel. It was only on this day that Aaron was allowed to enter the Tabernacle and offer sacrifices on behalf of the people, to atone for their sins. This can be found in Leviticus, Chapter 16.

While Exodus ended with the construction of the Tabernacle, Leviticus tells us about the worship that took place in the Tabernacle.

Genesis - Origins of the Nation, Theocracy Born. Exodus - Deliverance of a Nation, Leviticus - Life of a Nation, Theocracy established. Genesis begins with creation, which tells of the rise of God's people. Exodus begins in slavery, which tells of redemption from Egypt. Leviticus begins with sacrifice, it helps set forth the ritual of worship.

There were only three groups of people who were anointed in the Hebrew Bible: Priests (found here),  Prophets, and Kings. When Jesus came, he became all three, and becoming the "Anointed One," "HaMeshiah."

Notice that the Passover was to be held on the 14th day of the month. The Jews followed a lunar calendar. Their month would begin with the New Moon. This means that the 14th day of the month would be the time of the Full Moon. Some have wondered if the darkness of the sun at the death of Christ could have been caused by a solar eclipse. But this could not be the case, for it took place in the season of Passover - the time of the Full Moon.

The covenant relationship between God and Israel, (Leviticus 26:12) "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people," after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, was extended to the Gentiles. The Gentiles are everyone who is not a Jew by birth. I am a Gentile. St. Paul re-affirms this in 2nd Corinthians  6:16. We have entered into the promise originally given to Israel, through Jesus Christ.

I hope you have found this overview helpful, not too descriptive, but insightful, enough to make you want to read the book. 

Next Overview: Book of Deuteronomy

Previous Overview: Book of Exodus

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